Nik Antropov leads the Thrashers with 22 goals and 63 points in 68 games this season (Photo Source: Yardbarker.com)

Which teams will show up?

The Bruins are set to embark on what is one of the most important road trips of the year despite it spanning only one game.  The black and gold will take on the Thrashers Tuesday night in Atlanta in a battle for 8th place.  The Bruins are one point ahead of Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.  For the Bruins, it’s simple.  They need to win or they’ll be on the outside looking in with 10 games left.  What makes the game even more important is the fact that the Bruins face a difficult remaining schedule, which includes playing Washington and Buffalo twice, New Jersey, and Calgary.  Every point is important, but they are especially important when you have to face elite teams in the near future.

As for what to expect from tonight’s game, it is almost a complete mystery since we can’t be sure of which teams are actually going to show up.  Though the Ilya Kovalchuk-less Atlanta Thrashers lack the star power they once had, they have managed to win four in a row and have collected points in their last five.  This streak comes after losing five games in a row. 

As for the Bruins, they are as equally unpredictable.  After being embarrassed by the Penguins at home on Thursday night, they responded with a solid 2-1 win over the Rangers on Sunday, showing that the complete emasculation they had suffered had very little lasting impact.  Still, if the rest of the season is any indication, the Bruins are just as likely to lay an egg tonight as they are to build off Sunday’s chippy, hard-fought win.  

Conventional wisdom would say the Bruins have the advantage, with a more complete team on paper.  As they continue to prove though, games aren’t won on paper.  With Nik Antropov leading the way, the Thrashers might not seem as sexy as they once did.  But none of that matters when the playoffs are within reach.

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Tags: Atlanta Thrashers Boston Bruins Eastern Conference Ilya Kovalchuk Nik Antropov

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